By RUSSELL JONES
As school has gotten underway, there are two changes in the Greater Rutland County Supervisory Union. There is a new, kind of, superintendent for the supervisory union and the teachers for GRCSU are now all on the same pay schedule after a long series of contract negotiations have been resolved.
Judith Pullinen took over the duties of superintendent for the district after Deborah Taylor left for a new position in June. Pullinen, however, is not new to the district.
She was superintendent for the Rutland Southwest Supervisory Union for a year right before the merger that combined Rutland Southwest with Rutland Central Supervisory Union. She helped prepare the way for the two unions to join forces in 2018, before retiring.
“Things have been going well,” she said. “I’m lucky because I knew almost all of the principals in the district and I’m pretty much caught up with everything I need to be as the school year begins.”
Pullinen is listed as the interim superintendent and said she doesn’t expect to stay on longer than a year. The GRCSU board is conducting the new superintendent search and has also recently agreed to ratify the new teacher contracts.
“The board voted to ratify the new contract on Aug. 28,” Pullinen said. “The teachers had agreed on Aug. 26.”
Pullinen said this was a nearly two-year process and that she was only there at the very end of those talks.
Contract talks began after the Act 46 merger in 2018 brought the two supervisory unions together. As talks went on, teachers were still being paid according to the 2017-2018 contracts, which meant that teachers from the former Rutland Central Supervisory Union were getting paid more than the former Rutland Southwest Supervisory Union teachers. According to state law, new hires to the supervisory union district are required to be paid uniformly.
That also means that new teachers at Wells Elementary, Poultney Elementary, Poultney High and Middletown Springs Elementary were being paid more than other teachers in the same building, and that those teachers will be paid retroactively.
“This contract covers last year and this year,” Pullinen said, “so those teachers are getting paid for their raises retroactively.”
Now that the two sides have hammered out a contract deal, they’ll soon have to begin again, as this contract ends in June of 2020.
“We are hoping next year goes much smoother,” Pullinen said, “because all the hard work has been done with this contract.”